March 14, 2009


The Obama Administration disclosed on Friday that it will no longer claim the power to detain terrorism suspects under the label “enemy combatant,” even while claiming broad authority to detain those who are a part of terrorist networks or who supplied “substantial support” to such forces. The authority, it said, extends to places other than battlefields if Afghanistan, but did not say where else detainees might be seized. . . . Here is the definition of detention authority, without the label “enemy combatant,” that the Obama Administration outlined Friday: “The President has the authority to detain persons that the President determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks. The President also has the authority to detain persons who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any peson who has committed a belligerent act, or has directly supported hostilities, in aid of such enemy armed forces.”

So there. Related: Obama Administration Asserts Broad Detention Authority.

Plus this: “It appears on first reading that whatever they call those they claim the right to detain, they have adopted almost the same standard the Bush administration used to detain people without charge — with one change, the addition of the word `substantially’ before the word ‘supported.’ This is really a case of old wine in new bottles.”

Also: “Maybe President Bush should just have changed the name of Guantanamo. Then he could have announced that there were no longer any enemy combatants at Guantanamo.”

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